Two losses

A lot could be said about this weekend – about what transpired between Mi.Vida and I, both in and out of couples counseling. Part of me wants to get it all out there, but a much bigger part of me is so beaten down and tired, I just don’t think I can. Instead I’ll just explain where I am, at the end of all of it.

Actually, first I should explain where we are, as a couple. It’s been decided, with the guidance of our counselor S, that in one to two years, if we feel we’re more stable both financially and as a couple, we’ll talk about trying to have another baby. This means Isa will be 4-5 years old when her sibling is born, if we’re lucky enough to conceive again quickly and carry a second baby to term.

For the first part of the weekend, before that plan was described out loud but when I sense we were headed there, what I felt was disappointment – sheer and utter disappointment. And I felt like a failure. Having a family has always been my number one aspiration. I never cared much what job I’d have – I literally picked the one I thought was most compatible with motherhood – and I had no grand expectations of where I’d call home some day. The only thing I cared about, ever, was having a family. And it turns out, I suck at that. For some reason we are no good at having a family. For some reason we struggle against it so completely that the idea of having another child is scarier than it is amazing. For some reason we’ve had to pay someone to help us figure out that we literally cannot do it. Do you know how that feels? To know the one thing you’ve always wanted, the only thing you’ve always wanted, is within your grasp and yet unattainable? That you’ve somehow failed at the only thing you ever really wanted to do? I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s utterly and completely devastating.

I am mourning the very essence of a dream I had. I’m mourning a life in which I motherhood is something that brings me unbridled joy and happiness. I’m mourning the experience of parenthood bringing us closer together instead of driving us farther apart. I’m saying goodbye to any hope that this would feel good and right and easy. Because obviously it’s not any of those things, not for us.

I thought this was what made me so upset about the decisions we made this weekend, but later I realized there was something else I felt I’d lost. Something equally as upsetting. As I tried to wrap my mind around trying again not in one and half months as we’d planned, but in one to two years, I became despondent. This feelings was more than just letting go of the size and shape of the family I’d always hoped to have, this was much more profound.

My first attempt at TTC was a complete and utter cluster fuck. I spent over a year wanting to get started with it but finding myself in a partnership that wasn’t there yet. By the time we were “ready” I was a nervous wreck. That entire year was fueled by anxiety and fear. Worry that I’d never carry a healthy pregnancy. Fear that my child would die before I’d ever get to hold her. My year of trying was largely a negative experience and my pregnancy was marred by intense anxiety. How I handled both situations is one of the great regrets of my life.

Thinking ahead to TTC #2 I felt so hopeful. Starting when we were going to, I felt no pressure to get pregnant quickly and the thought of losses didn’t feel so overwhelming. We had time, we’d probably achieve a healthy pregnancy again, it was going to be different. Having carried a healthy baby to term gave me so much more confidence in my body than I had before. My story was no longer just my mother’s, now it was mine as well, and my story contained happiness and joy. There was no reason to believe it wouldn’t have those things again. This time we were going to do it right. This time we were going to do it without costly treatments and timed and charted sex. This time was going to make up for the mess I made last time. It felt so positive for me, for us. This time was going to bring us closer together, was going to overwrite the mess I made last time, was going to heal us somehow.

Now all of that is gone. If we wait 1-2 years I’ll be in the exact same place I was before, anxious to get started and fearful of what might happen. Every month that we don’t get pregnant will be agony. The possibility of loss will loom, ever present, in my mind. The fact that I’ll quickly be reaching “advanced maternal age” will be sitting, restless, in the background. Everything positive I hoped to experience with the conception, and pregnancy, of my second child has been lost. The thing I most looked forward to in life, carrying a child, will again be an anxiety ridden experience. This is the loss I’m mourning. This is the loss that makes me heart ache in ways I can’t explain.

But I know I don’t have to explain it. I know you all know how much all this hurts. I know I was one of the lucky ones to even have the chance at a positive TTC experience. I know this. And for some reason it makes it all the harder to let it go. Like I’m letting you all down some how. Just like I have by squandering my chance to have a happy family that rejoices in parenthood.

Basically, I’ve just fucked everything up. And I’m so profoundly sorry.

15 responses

  1. Oh, Esperanza. My heart goes out to you! I know I haven’t heard Mi Vida’s side, but from reading this, it’s hard for me to understand how this is a compromise. It sounds like you are losing so much. I guess what you gain is the ability to try for another child at all?

    I really admire your dedication to talk all of this through with Mi Vida, and hear each other out, and I am assuming that you’ve also spoken with him about how it feels to make these decisions.

    I feel like so many of us are struggling right now. We try so hard to have that first child, and then that isn’t the end of the story. We don’t just live happily ever after. I don’t know what to say – I know it’s going to be a loooong wait for you before you can try again. But it won’t be forever. I guess I can just hope for many things that bring you joy in the interim.

  2. I’m worried you think this is your fault. It’s not. You are grieving the loss of something. You have every right to be sad. You are an amazing mother to Isa. You are succeeding wildly there.

    This just blows. Give yourself time to heal. And be kind to yourself.

  3. I wish I had some sage advice, but all I can say is that I understand. The struggles we’ve been through have a way of clarifying what we want in terms of family and when we want it. The fear of a struggle makes us want to try sooner rather than later because time isn’t on our side. It’s hard to compromise when mother nature can’t. For your sake, I wish he felt differently. Please don’t beat yourself up.

  4. My heart is breaking for you. I feel so much sorrow in your words and I wish I could say something that would make it better. But I do know how it feels to want a family above all else and then have that dream not turn out the way you expected. It hurts, it’s scary, and it’s life altering. I’m so, so very sorry.

  5. I’m sorry. I believe that it will eventually feel better than it does now and I KNOW that you will give Isa a sibling. I understand your desire to have a do-over. I am very high risk so very little could change my pregnancy fears but I do dream of getting a second chance at the whole motherhood gig. g’s first year a total disaster – so much so that I still kind of cringe when I see newborn babies. It would be so nice to be able to change that.

  6. I feel like giving you a hug. I feel so much pain seeping and oozing through your words – it is almost a physical need to comfort you…

    I am sorry you feel so blue.
    Maybe you should try and focus on what you said: family is your number one priority – so focus on the family you already have, not the family you envision in the future.

    You have a precious baby girl that needs you. You a husband whom you love.

    Really, I know it’s not the same. I know that’s not what you’re feeling and – silently – weeping for. But..; as they say – if you cannot change the circumstances, change your attitude.

    Please forgive me if you really need words of support at this moment, and not pragmatic advice. I really want to help.

    Hugs. It will all be all right, you;ll see.

  7. What JJiraffe and the others have said. There is no fault. It’s so very difficult to realize that a dream you’ve held for so long might have to be discarded.

    It’s just hard. Letting go is hard. Grieving is hard. Remember, none of us are asking you to enter the Pain Olympics. In fact, I’m asking you NOT to.

    I’m simply abiding with you, seeing your inner strength.

  8. I echo Lori’s sentiments. I am abiding with you and I believe in you. I know that you can and will find a way to make the best of and peace with this situation.

    I finished my Time Warp post a few hours ago for this week and talked about how Bob and I are moving closer to making our “soft decision” to be done with family building a “hard” one and how bittersweet that is for us, especially me. I shared one of my all time favorite comments, that someone left on my blog almost two years ago, and I will share her words with you here:

    “It takes courage to let go. Most people think that the courageous are those who take risks, but there is a lot of courage in turning away from things you want too.”

    I do believe that sometimes in life we have to try to “let go” of some of our plans, hopes and dreams for our family and allow them to evolve into what works for us in the present. I am not suggesting in anyway that doing this is easy or comfortable.

    I also totally appreciate what feels like to want to parent another child. So please don’t take my words the wrong way, as I do honor your hopes and dreams of having another living child in your family someday.

    Sending lots of positive and healing thoughts and prayers your, Mi Vida and Isa’s way tonight and in the days to come. Hang in there.

    You can do this. One day at a time, my friend. xoxo

  9. You haven’t fucked anything up. Life happens, and sometimes it just plain sucks. I am sorry that it is sucking for you right now, and that you are finding that it’s best to defer this dream.

    On the other hand, when you are ready, even if it’s another anxiety-ridden pregnancy (and goodness knows I’ve had enough of those to not wish them on anyone), you will be in a better place to give a child a stable home. Advanced maternal age is a lot of hoo-ha … there are people who can’t have children at age 25, and others who have children well into their 40s. Whatever you do, don’t let the medical profession make you feel any less capable of bearing a child.

    Letting go of this for a little while and allowing life to take you where it will may be a gift in disguise … though that doesn’t make it any easier to bear the loss, it may help with looking forward.

    AND: in the meantime, though I know it’s not “consolation,” you are an amazing mom to Isa. That little girl looking at us through the camera lens adores her mama. I hope that you can see that, too.

  10. Oh hun *hug* I can’t imagine the pain, confusion, and hurt you’re feeling. We tell ourselves so many things are unshakable and reading this, it feels like the ground is unsteady beneath your feet.

    I want to tell you: it’s okay to fall down. It’s okay to collapse to the ground, to scrape the palms of your hands on the sidewalk, that stinging pain that shoots up your arms. It’s okay to cry – to cry out – and to stay there until someone can pick you up, or until you find the strength to stand again.

    You are not a failure. You are not broken. And you have every right to grieve, to mourn, to let the pain of letting go of such a dream fill every fiber of your being. A dream’s death is not a thought you can blink out of your head. It must exit through every pore and cell of your body, and you will feel that loss as it leaves you.

    My heart is with you fully. My hand is outstretched to help you up.

  11. I don’t know what else I can add to these incredible comments, but I do wish that you wouldn’t take it all on yourself. Both you and Mi. Vida are equally a part of what your family has been through/is going through, you are not all to blame. I’m truly sorry you have to try and let this go, I know it won’t be easy. Please know, I’ll be here to support you through it all.

  12. I’m so sorry. That’s a really shitty situation to be in. And sad. I can definitely understand your sense of loss. Just when you think things will finally be good and easy for once…turns out not so much. It sucks. I’m sorry 😦

  13. Long-time lurker here who has kept meaning to post but not quite made it before 😉 Our DS1 came after much trying but it was 5 1/2 years before DS2 arrived after IVF (DHs refusal to even contemplate IVF for over 4 years had me in despair) I was so jealous of the toddlers and bumps brigade and IF consumed me for much of this time as I got closer and closer to 40. However, the large age gap has turned out to be good in ways I never could’ve imagined – the boys adore each other and play surprisingly well, DS1 was settled in school and had his own interests when the baby came along which minimised jealousy etc, we got to do so many things as a family of 3 that we couldn’t have done with an extra young baby in tow, I had time at home with baby DS2 alone during the school day rather than having to have split attention.

    Despite DS2 being a wonderfully easy baby if I’m honest I don’t think I would’ve coped half as well if the age gap had been much smaller. I’ve been lucky to drop back to 3 days a week work but the jump from 1 to 2 has been harder work than I imagined. Everything is a total juggle, there is so much more house stuff plus when 1 child is asleep or away the (internal) pressure and desire to spend one-on-one time with the other child means that there is nowhere near the downtime there used to be. I feel way more time pressured and exhausted, and while the relationship between me and DH is holding up (I think) the relentlessness of it all gets to us both. I look at the toddler/baby combos now and while it was all I wanted for so very long I don’t know if we would’ve survived it…

    I’m not trying to be Pollyanna about this all (and my apologies if it comes across at all like that) and I certainly remember my pain from the in-between time, so many of the feelings you’ve expressed mirror mine in the past. My dream was shattered – but it’s been replaced by new dreams and chances. I’m so sorry for where you’re at at the moment, and hope that things get better.

  14. Here from the future via Time Warp Tuesday and love knowing what I know now about where your journey has led since you wrote this… I know it was far from easy for you to get where you are today, but I am so proud of you, Mi Vida and Isa!

    It is surreal to also read the comment I left for you, especially in light of the Time Warp post I chose to revisit this month. This is still my all-time favorite comment and I think about it now and then when I am struggling with letting go.

    “It takes courage to let go. Most people think that the courageous are those who take risks, but there is a lot of courage in turning away from things you want too.”

    I love the idea that it is as courageous to let go as it is to take risks. I had never thought about it that way, until I received that comment and it was a game-changer in helping me to make peace with the decisions my family and I have made throughout our secondary infertility and loss journey.

    Heading back to the future to see what you have to say about this post today (in June 2013)!

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